Skip to main content

Evaluating Websites: Evaluating Websites

Evaluating the Credibility of Websites

This guide will help you determine if a website is appropriate for college-level research by applying specific criteria. By using this guide, you will be able to:

  • Name the CRAAP test's 5 criteria.
  • Evaluate a website using CRAAP test criteria.
  • Articulate why evaluating information is a crucial part of the research process.

Evaluating Websites Video - from SJSU King Library

Test Your Evaluation Skills!

Evaluate these websites using the CRAAP test. Are they appropriate for college-level research?:

CRAAP Method of Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Information:  Applying the CRAAP Test
(Borrowed from Meriam Library - California State University, Chico)

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it...but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Evaluation Criteria

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?
  •  Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. 

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too basic or too advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?  Examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? 

Purpose: The reason the information exists. 

  • What is the purpose of the information?  Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Google Search Tips - Limit by Domain

When doing a Google search, you can limit your search results to sites from specific domains, such as .edu (academic websites), .gov (government websites) .mil (military websites) or .org (non-profit websites). Websites from these domains usually (although not always!) have reliable content.

To limit your search to a specific domain in Google, type site: .edu after your search terms.

Example search: nanotechnology market site:.gov

All results will be from .gov websites!

Credits

  • This guide was adapted from the College of Marin LibGuide "Evaluating Websites."
  • "Evaluating Websites" video created by SJSU King Library.